Right of Self-Determination: Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement

Chapter I: The Machakos Protocol (Signed at Machakos, Kenya on 20th July, 2002)

Part A: Agreed Principles

1.3 That the people of South Sudan have the right to self-determination, inter alia, through a referendum to determine their future status.

The Right to Self-Determination for the People of South Sudan

1.3 That the people of South Sudan have the right to self-determination, inter alia, through a referendum to determine their future status.

2.5 At the end of the six (6) year Interim Period there shall be an internationally monitored referendum, organized jointly by the GoS and the SPLM/A, for the people of South Sudan to: confirm the unity of the Sudan by voting to adopt the system of government established under the Peace Agreement; or to vote for secession.

CHAPTER IV: The Resolution of The Abyei Conflict

1.3 End of Interim Period

Simultaneously with the referendum for southern Sudan, the residents of Abyei will cast a separate ballot. The proposition voted on in the separate ballot will present the residents of Abyei with the following choices, irrespective of the results of the southern referendum:

a. That Abyei retain its special administrative status in the north;

b. That Abyei be part of Bahr el Ghazal.

Implementation History

2005

Intermediate Implementation

The 2005 CPA provided that the people of South Sudan would have the right to self-determination and, in this regard, the people of south Sudan would have the option to confirm the unity or to vote for secession. South Sudan’s right to self-determination was incorporated in the interim constitution (Article 219). Similarly, the CPA gave the residents of Abyei the option to cast a separate ballot and to make a choice between retaining its special administrative status in the north or to be part of Bahr el Ghazal. This provision was also incorporated in the interim constitution (Article 183.3). The constitution came into effect on 9 July 2005.1

  • 1. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, March 2006.
2006

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2007

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2008

Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2009

Intermediate Implementation

As provided for in 2005 CPA, the National Assembly adopted the Southern Sudan Referendum Bill in December 2009. The National Assembly adopted the Abyei Referendum Bill 2009.2

  • 2. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, December 2010.
2010

Intermediate Implementation

The members of the referendum commission were appointed in June 2010. The referendum was scheduled for 9 to 15 January 2011.3

2011

Full Implementation

The referendum for southern Sudan took place from 9 to 15 January 2011. The referendum was conducted in the Sudan and in eight out-of-country-voting (OCV) countries (with the exception of an OCV centre in Brisbane where the polling continued until 18 January).4 On 7 February 2011, the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission announced the final results for the Referendum. 1.17% of valid votes were cast in favor of unity, 98.83% of valid votes were cast in favor of secession with a 97.58% voter turnout (3,851,994 registered voters).5 This satisfies that the provision related to self-determination for southern Sudan was implemented. Nevertheless, the Abyei referendum did not take place as after the north and south could not agree on who was eligible to vote.6 The southern Sudan called for the referendum for Abyei and insisted that the Abyei belonged to the south Sudan.7

  • 4. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, January 2011.
  • 5. "The CPA Monitor-Monthly report on the Implementation of the CPA," UNMIS, February 2011.
  • 6. "Southern Sudan Official: Abyei Belongs with Us," Associated Press Online, April 29, 2011.
  • 7. "Sudan; South Calls for Abyei Referendum," Africa News, May 26, 2011.